A recipe for successful projects

A recent LinkedIn post told me that our managers can sleep soundly at night because the MakoLab Operations Team is watching over things. I smiled to myself. Nonetheless, a question worked its way into my mind. “How do they do it?” I wondered.
In search of an answer, Insights stepped into the world of DevOps and talked to two members of the Operations Team, project manager and service owner Grzegorz Sztander and support engineer Adam Kupczak. We wanted to find out what lies behind the fact that our projects work out well.

Could you tell us something about your professional backgrounds?

I started out in banking but, just between you and me, for a few years I was very close to you all at home… on account of the software I created for TV decoders! I was involved in process optimisation and I worked on a diverse range of projects. And now, here at MakoLab, I run the six-person DevOps team.
When I was sixteen, I started work in the hospitality sector. I’m no stranger to waiting and bar work. Now I run the Spaleni Słońcem1 cocktail bar in Łódź and, thanks to my earlier experience, it’s doing well. I began working in DevOps here, at MakoLab, though that wasn’t the beginning of my career in technology. While I was a student, I worked in C++. With time, I realised that DevOps is the best road for people who want to gain a wider range of experience. I submitted my CV to Grzegorz’s team… and here I am!

What is DevOps and what do you do at MakoLab?

DevOps isn’t an easy term to explain because it’s continually evolving. We could say that it’s an innovative approach to running IT projects, but what actually lies behind that? Reducing the time it takes to implement changes, saving that time… only what we do here, at MakoLab, isn’t one hundred per cent DevOps.
We’re an operations team, because our work goes beyond the framework of DevOps. We immerse ourselves in what we’re doing and we can’t be slotted into terminological pigeonholes! Once people start getting involved and thinking about what can be improved, they turn into an unstoppable force! Our team sprang from support for an automotive industry project, but now we’re continually developing our skills and areas of work.
We automatise environments, optimise cloud architecture and, most frequently of all, we deploy applications in end-to-end and production environments. We have control of the processes in a project, we monitor the environment and test the productivity of the data bases. We’re detectives, searching for clues and solving problems. Something’s not working in a project, so what happens? They call us or mail us!
We provide a 24/7 service and being on call goes hand in hand with that. We have an hour, max, to set to work and get an application working again. We’re not left dealing with the challenge alone, though. We have the developers’ support. You could say that, as darkness falls, we slip on our black capes and monitor the city… whoops, erase that!… and monitor projects!

What’s your role in a project?

We collaborate on a project and with the client on numerous levels, but we have our own level of independence and spheres we’re responsible for. As a result, we’re effective in carrying out processes and we provide stability. We’re a team with a specialised way of working in a range of spheres. What that means, though, is that we’re capable of accomplishing any project! To us, nothing is impossible and we perform miracles on the second working day!
(He pulls up a visual) Here we are!

You’ll be running a webinar together on 13th September. What are you going to be talking about?

We want to emphasise what we do and why we do it. We’ll be giving business examples so that everyone attending can decide for themselves whether we’re necessary to projects and we’re going to be unstinting when it comes to providing genuine instances from our work for connected car initiatives. We’ll be presenting our vision of DevOps and why we think it’s the answer to the continuous evolution of project needs. The participants will be able to see what life’s like on the front line when an application refuses to obey. We’ll also be answering a burning question… do Ops people write code?! And if, despite all our efforts, there are still uncertainties, then we’ll bring on Peppa Pig to provide a faultless depiction of the Dev-Ops-Client relationship. Also, and I’ll make no secret of this, I want to talk about how our team developed and invite people to work with us. Right! It’s your turn Adam!
I’ll be serving as an example of whether you need to be a senior in order to join the operations team! We’ll be talking about the recruitment process and demonstrating that MakoLab is a friendly place to start out!
We’ll also be looking at whether you can find fulfilment in DevOps when you’re just beginning in the IT world. And whether, as an archaeologist, a teacher, a miner or even an ornithologist, you can succeed in spreading your wings in that world. We know people who have and we’ll be talking about them!

Will it be your first time leading an event like this?

Does running training courses for bar staff count? (He laughs)
I have social activism in my blood. I’ve run conferences for young people and I was taking part in campaigns of the Noble Gift2 type before anyone had ever thought of running a campaign like that. I’ve also been a collection centre manager for the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity3. All this means that I’ve quite often appeared in public on the social front. I put it use later on in commercial activities, so running events like a webinar isn’t new to me. As I see it, we should deliver this one in line with a service level agreement!

Do you have plans for any more webinars?

Of course we do! We’ve even got a surprise for the people attending the one we’ve been talking about. We’ll be telling them about it during the event. We’re aiming to do something unique, something that, possibly, no IT company would decide on. Maybe not everyone has the courage to organise something like it… but we do. We like acting outside of the box, because everything we do, we do our way!
I doubt there’s anyone left who’s not convinced about joining you on the afternoon of Tuesday 13th September, but I will just ask who you’re running the webinar for?
I’ve already mentioned teachers, miners and ornithologists…! Seriously, though, are you a developer who’s finding that just writing code isn’t enough for you? Do you manage support or operations and, if you do, would you enjoy checking out some good practice? Or are you a student looking for a personal development path? If your answer to any of those questions is yes, then join us at 3.00 PM on Tuesday 13th September! The ‘auditorium’ is VERY spacious and we are raring to go and to answer all your questions!

The title of the webinar is All our projects work out well. Why? DevOps the MakoLab way. And, with that, what else is there for us to say except… register for the webinar! We’re looking forward to seeing you there, on Tuesday 13th September at 3.00 PM!

Translated from the Polish by Caryl Swift

1 Spaleni Słońcem: The Sunburned
2 A nationwide charitable organisation which reaches out to people in all kinds of difficult situations and provides them with much-needed gifts during the Christmas period;
3 A charitable organisation operating on an international scale in order to support public healthcare in Poland;

1st September 2022
6 min. read

Ewelina Buchta

Employer Branding Specialist


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